Over 400 Tamils expected to join the police force in August

Mano GanesanOver 400 Tamils will be joining the Sri Lanka Police after the completion of their training in August this year, the Minister of National Dialogue, Mano Ganeshan, told the New Indian Express on Friday.

Recruitment of Tamil policemen had become urgent after the end of Eelam War IV in 2009 and the coming to power of elected governments in the Tamil-speaking Eastern and Northern Provinces in 2008 and 2013 respectively.

The two provinces, which bore the brunt of the 30 year armed conflict with Tamil militants, could not be policed by the armed forces, manned mostly by Sinhalese, once the war ended and elected provincial government had taken charge.

But the police had very few Tamils to do the job, because they were suspected to be pro-militant and not recruited to the police and the Security Forces  for 30 years. Government had to think of a crash recruitment program. But progress was slow.

However. when Maithripala Sirisena was elected Lankan President in January 2015, he came under pressure from the Tamil parties, which helped him to come to power, to recruitment Tamils to the police and post them in the North and East.

According to National Dialogue Minister Mano Ganeshan, the training of 400 Tamils  would be completed in August and, thereafter, they would get postings in the North and East.

“We are also going to recruit Tamil translators and post them in police stations which have within their jurisdiction a significant Tamil population,” Ganeshan said.

Meanwhile, the law and order situation in Jaffna district began to cause concern as drug and alcohol use, drug smuggling, prostitution, robberies and gang warfare reached an alarming level. Local Tamils, from Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran downwards, began to blame the 150,000 Lankan armed forces personnel deployed in the North, for the worsening crime situation. They  accused the forces of willful neglect and worse, collusion with the criminals for material gain.

“If the army is removed, law and order will improve,” the Chief Minister said at public meetings tongue in cheek.

While the government is unlikely to withdraw the armed forces, except marginally, because a fear of militancy, it is hoping to improve the civilian policing system by having more Tamils and Tamil-knowing personnel.

According to Tamil National Alliance MP M.A.Sumanthiran, one reason why crime saw an upsurge in Jaffna was that crime detection and prevention were very poor due to a language barrier. The police and the people could not communicate with each other – the police spoke only Sinhalese and the Tamils only Tamil.

1 COMMENT

  1. What Minister Mano Ganeshan has told the “newindianexpress.com was not true. Was the Minister trying to gain cheap publicity by making this statement or was Minister Mano Ganeshan ignorant of facts from earlier. The fact remains that the strory goes as follows. The “newindianexpress.com” journalist P.K. Balachandran should have followed the “Code of Ethics and Journalistic Code” when writing about matters, especially concerning the North and East of Sri Lanka. He has forgotten to appraise the readers in his above article that during the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, the Sri Lanka’s Police Department held interviews to recruit 1,000 Tamil youth to the junior grades of the police service. The interviews were held to recruit both men and women sub-inspectors and police constables, and police drivers. All applicants were from the districts in the Northern Province- Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mulaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya. The selected individuals were trained at police training schools before being posted to police stations in the Northern Province. During the recruitment drive, Tamil youth had shown much interest and more than 6,500 people, including 400 women, applied for 500 police constable posts in Jaffna during that recruitment drive in 2011. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government should be given credit as in 2007 August, barely a month after Sri Lanka security forces liberated the East from the LTTE, Sri Lanka Police commenced a mass recruitment drive of Tamils and Muslims into the force with more than 500 applications being received. The January 07, 2011, marked a new chapter in the history of Sri Lanka Police as a passing out parade ceremony was held at the Kalutara Police College, for a batch which consists of entirely Tamil Police Constables including 16 women officers. These 336 Tamil-speaking Police officers who gained their basic training skills were recruited from the northern and eastern provinces. Police constable 88993 Gunarathnam Gunarojan was awarded as the best recruit. One of the new constables was quoted in media THEN as saying that the move would help bridging the gap between the Tamil community and the police in the northern areas of the country. So what Minister Mano Ganeshan is BOASTING about recruiting 400 Tamil youth for the Police Force in Agust 2016, is a “political drama” the Minister the Minister of National Dialogue, Mano Ganeshan is STAGING to draw attention from India and the International community that the Yahapalana government is giving TAMILS from the North ENTRY into a “closed Sinhalese dominated police force” in Sri Lanka. What Minister Mano Ganeshan has told “The New Hindu Express” on Friday is just a publicity statement. In reality, recruitment of Tamils and or Tamil speaking minority youth (male and female) recruitment is taking place since 2011 in Sri Lanka. I hope that “The New Hindu Express” will publish my comments for the benefit of its readers. Noor Nizam. Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher, SLFP Stalwart and Convener – The Muslim Voice.

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